Cowboys vs. 49ers
The Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers renewed their rivalry today playing each other for the 34th time with the 49ers coming out on top of this one with a 28-17 victory. Coming into this game for the Cowboys all the team's questions seemed to be on the defensive side of the ball. But, it was the offense's blunders that put the team in a deep hole early that they could not pull themselves out of.
In my Week 1 Preview article I said the Cowboys would have success running the football and that they must stay committed to it. It turns out the Cowboys
ran the ball 23 times at an average of a whopping 5.5 yards per carry. They should have ran the ball more earlier in the game instead of choosing to throw so much early in the game when Romo threw two interceptions into the end zone.
The stat sheet shows that the Cowboys outplayed the 49ers in every category except for turnovers with the Cowboys turning the ball over 4 times and the 49ers having 0 turnovers. The Cowboys had 7 more first downs, 63 more offensive yards, including 80 more passing yards and also led the time of possession by 3 minutes.
But, at the bottom of the stat sheet lies the most important stat in the NFL that determines thewinners and losers and that is the Turnover Ratio. Today's stat sheet shows that Dallas was a -4 and San Fran was 0. No team can overcome 4 turnovers and win the game.
The Cowboys started off bad with a false start penalty by left tackle Tyron Smith on the first play of the game, but then on the next play Dallas' offense looked like they were ready to light the scoreboard up when Tony Romo faked a handoff to Demarco Murray, stood up tall and hit Terrance Williams on a post route for a gain of 18 yards.
But, then disaster struck on the very next play when Murray fumbled the ball and the fumble was returned by Chris Culliver 35 yards for a touchdown, giving the 49ers an early 7-0 lead.
On the next drive the Cowboys come storming back moving the ball from their 20 yard line all the way to the 2 yard line, facing a 2nd and 1 when they had to call a timeout because of confusion in the huddle. Now this is a team that has spent 3 first round draft picks on offensive linemen and Jason Garrett has said they are going to be more balanced this season, they have one of the best running backs in the game and many people around the NFL think they may have the best offensive line as well. So what do you figure the Cowboys will do from the 2 yard line?????
They come out in the shotgun with 3 wide receivers, Romo fakes the ball to Murray and then gets sacked for a loss of 8 yards setting up a 3rd and 9 from the 10 yard line.
SCOTT LINEHAN!! What a terrible call!!! This is why they brought you to Dallas for????????????????
On the next play the Cowboys are in the full spread and Romo almost throws his first interception, but the pass falls incomplete. The Cowboys have to settle for a field goal and cut the lead to 7-3.
The 49ers come scoring back on an 80 yard touchdown drive highlighted by Anquan Boldin torching Brandon Carr for a 36 yard reception. Then one play later it appears that Carr is supposed to be in his side deep third from the numbers on the field to the sideline, instead he follows the wide receiver too far inside and tight end Vernon Davis catches a 30 yard touchdown pass right where he should have been. 49ers now lead 14-3.
On the Cowboys next drive Romo throws his first of 3 interceptions, this one intercepted by safety Eric Reid and returned 46 yards to the 2 yard line. Romo makes a horrible read on this play. It is a combo route with Williams split out wide right running a deep post. Dez Bryant was split to the left side running an underneath crossing route. Romo should have read Reid the deep safety and when he jumped Bryant's route leaving Williams wide open on the post, Romo should have hit Williams for a potential touchdown pass. Instead Romo forces it to Bryant which leads to the interception.
The 49ers score on the next play on a pass to Vernon Davis to push their lead to 21-3.
On the Cowboys next drive, they mix the run and the pass well and get to the 5 yard line with a 1st and goal. Up to this point in thie drive the Cowboys have been gashing the Niners with their running game. However on this play, Linehan, the team's offensive coordinator calls a play action pass. Romo fakes the ball to Murray, wide receiver Dwayne Harris is wide open in the end zone right after the fake, but Romo doesn't see him, rolls out to his right and just lofts the ball up for grabs trying to force the ball to Jason Witten, but it is intercepted in the end zone by linebacker Patrick Willis.
Why are the Cowboys throwing the ball on 1st and goal from the 5?? They have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL and one of the best running backs in the NFL who is averaging 5.5 yards per carry. RUN THE BALL!!!!!!
The Cowboys hold the 49ers on the next drive and force them to punt. Andy Lee punts a beauty with the ball being downed at the 1 yard line.
The Cowboys moved the ball out the their 12 yard line getting a first down when they tried to hit the Niners with a big pass play. Romo throws to the deep receiver who is double covered with a Niner on each side of him and the pass is intercepted by Perrish Cox at the Niner 35 yard line. An absolutely terrible play by Romo.
The 49ers start their next drive with just over 3 minutes left and score on a 2 yard plunge by rookie Carlos Hyde with :39 remaining to make the score 27-3 in favor of the Niners.
To start the 3rd quarter the Niners get the ball not gaining a yard in 3 plays and the Cowboy defense forces a punt. Lee booms another punt as Harris fumbles the catch and falls on the ball at the Cowboy 30 yard line. A 50 yard punt.
The Cowboy offense is unable to get much going, punting the ball back to the Niners.
On the next drive, Cowboy defensive end Tyrone Crawford hits Niner quarterback Colin Kaepernick as he is throwing the ball, the ball pops up in the air into the arms of linebacker Justin Durant who falls down as he is trying to catch the ball and drops a sure interception. The Niners were unable to convert a first down and punted the ball back to Dallas.
The Cowboys eventually get the ball to the Niner 2 yard line with a 3rd and 1. Instead of pounding the ball in for a touchdown Linehan calls for a back shoulder fade to Williams and the pass is not even close to being completed. Finally on 4th and 1 from the 2 the Cowboys hand the ball to Murray who scores a 2 yard touchdown with :29 left in the 3rd quarter cutting the Niner lead to 28-10.
The Cowboys finish the scoring with 1:55 left in the game on a 2 yard slant pass for a touchdown from Romo to Williams. Cutting the Niner lead to 28-17.